Goldfries today reports that Selangor Cyber Cafes were given new regulations to make them ‘healthier’. Among the new regulations put in place were:
>register their patrons’ personal details based on their MyKad or MyKid identification cards.
>use transparent and untinted glass so that what happens inside can be monitored;
>have an open layout with no “blind spots” so that illegal activities like cyber gambling cannot be carried out without being easily noticed;
>have brighter lighting to give the perception of a “Healthy Cyber Cafe” instead of being dark and dingy;
>operate a minimum of 40 computers in urban areas, and 20 computers in rural areas.
[source: The Sun]
Of course the most shocking bit of regulation that mandated the use of monitoring software to be installed onto computers to track a customers activity. State local council committee chairman Ronnie Liu was quoted saying “This can be done as the software will record a customers’ personal data as they sign in, and those below 18 years old will logged out of these computers after 10pm,”
What utter ridiculous nonsense. Plus — who is going to ensure these CyberCafe Operators will be complying to the Personal Data Protection Act when they ‘process’ my MyKad information?
Monitoring software to be installed on CyberCafe PCs
This isn’t some totalitarian state where a government can mandate the installation of monitoring software onto a computer meant to be used by the general public. People use a cybercafe for a lot of things, some people use it for emails and social media–even ‘real’ work. All of these activities are private and should not in any way be subjected to government monitoring or interference.
Who mandates the software? Whose software are we installing? Is the software from a company owned by Mr. Ronnie Liu? If anything the government should mandate that no such software ever be installed onto a computer meant to be used by the general public.
Who watches the watchmen?
The software installed could be used to spy on many things, including (but not limited to) social media passwords, email accounts and even credit card numbers. Truth be told, you local cybercafe could have some nefarious elements already installed, but to mandate that such monitoring software be installed is just bad.
Once you allow Cybercafe operators to monitor peoples activity, Who will then monitor the cybercafe operators?
Other silly laws
One of the main reasons people go to cybercafes these days is to kick back and play a couple rounds of the latest games. While a lot of kids may have access to high speed broadband (particularly in rural areas), most can’t really afford the serious bucks it takes to build a fully fledge gaming machine, so they resort to cyber cafes to do what all kids want to do–play computer games.
And just like going to the movies, to truly enjoy killing zombies, you need a dark ambient environment. You can’t be killing zombies under 24W Phillips super-white LED lights now can you? The just reflects that gross lack of understanding from Ronnie.
Also–just because something is lighted up–doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
Ronnie Liu and the entire Selangor Local Council have to seriously re-think this regulation. We’re regressing more and more in terms of our technological regulations–and what we’re witnessing is state government making the same mistakes as our federal government.